Power Without The Plug
While you might have a two- or three-year warranty on your laptop, your battery is generally only covered for one year.
Two specs to look for in laptop batteries include capacity and the number of cells. Typical batteries have a mAh rating of between 2000mAh and 6000mAh â higher is better. Cells are the actual compartments where power is produced, and can range from four to 12 â the more the better. Keep in mind, though, that this may cause the battery pack to stick out from your laptop in potentially awkward positions.
Some laptops don’t have easily-swappable batteries, in an attempt to cut down on physical size and to lengthen battery life. Be aware of this â when your battery dies, you may need to take your laptop in for a service, rather than simply swapping the battery out yourself.
On the other hand, some can take a second battery, either by replacing the optical drive or by placing a shim on the bottom. Check your accessories before you buy.
How To Pick The Best Laptop For You
So, what makes a laptop worth buying? First, it needs to offer excellent value for money. That means budget laptops below the $400/£400 price point need to still offer good performance and build quality.
Meanwhile, ultra-expensive devices need to justify their high price tags with best-in-class performance, premium build quality and lengthy battery lives.
If you want something to work on, a laptop with a modern processor, at least 8GB of RAM and a large screen are worth considering.
For gaming, you’ll want a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card and fast and responsive screen.
Check out our guide on;what you should look for when buying a new laptop;at the end of this page for more in-depth advice on buying a laptop.
Mac Windows Or Something Else
The operating system should be your first major consideration. While traditionally that debate was dominated by Apples MacOS and Microsofts Windows, Googles Chrome OS is now a very popular alternative typically offered on much more affordable laptops.
While there are certainly comparable hardware and features offered with these platforms, there are some stark differences between them that are important to consider.
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What To Look For In A Laptop
This is the brain of your computer. The number of cores, processing power and price range is a good indicator of the overall level of CPU power on offer.;
Laptops generally use low-power-consumption CPUs for better battery life.;
Be careful in comparing the Intel family of CPUs with those from AMD their main competitor as quoted speed figures aren’t directly comparable.;
The same goes for the sub-families of each brand for example, Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and i9 are increasingly high performance, even at the same quoted frequency figure in GHz; likewise with the M series processors designed for highly mobile computers. The same goes for AMD’s Ryzen series of processors.
Each new generation of processors is usually faster than the previous generation, even at the same chip frequency. Thus, you can expect a 2.4GHz 10th-generation CPU to be faster than a 2.4GHz 9th-generation CPU, or earlier generation.
A lack of RAM will slow your computer when running multiple programs, using a lot of web browser tabs or performing labour-intensive tasks, such as image processing.;
Expect a minimum of 4GB even in a budget Windows system, but ideally aim for at least 8GB for most general-use laptops and 16GB or more for high-end models. Don’t skimp on RAM at purchase time as it’s likely you may not be able to upgrade/increase it later.;
CHOICE tip: Choose a larger screen if you’re planning on regularly watching TV or movies on your laptop.;
What Should You Look For When Buying A New Laptop
There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop in 2021 that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.
Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of as long as you know what youre looking for.
First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though were seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.
As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.
To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.
If youre after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.
If youre after something with a bit more oomph perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.
A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.
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What Can You Do If Your Laptop Is Overheating
If you discover from using the applications mentioned above that your CPU is overheating, you need to lower this temperature.
Your CPU will have a heat sink and cooling fan, and if your fan is clogged up with dust, this can reduce its performance. Clean your laptop regularly to prevent this.
You can purchase a cooling pad for your laptop to reduce the temperature of critical components.
A cooling pad contains additional cooling fans to keep your laptop cooler. These devices are effective, and they are usually reasonably priced.
In this guide, we showed you how to check laptop temperature. But, of course, your CPU is the most important component, and some good free apps will tell you the overall temperature and core temperatures.
Do everything that you can to reduce the operating temperature of your laptop.
An overheating laptop can fail very quickly. At best, you will notice that your machine is not performing as well as it should.
Use these simple applications to monitor your laptops temperature and take the appropriate action if your machines get too hot.
How To Buy A Laptop: First Steps
The first step in knowing how to buy a laptop is knowing how much you have to spend on one. The prices for a laptop can range from the extremely affordable Chromebooks to the more expensive MacBook Pro line and even higher into more specialized workstations that can cost several thousands of dollars or pounds.
Setting up a price range for what you’re willing to spend is going to greatly help you cull a lot of laptops from consideration and will make the process of buying a laptop much easier.
Next, you’re going to need to assess your needs, specifically, what do you need your prospective laptop to do? If you’re looking for a laptop for work, are you going to be working with a lot of multimedia files? Are you going to be working with an endless procession of spreadsheets and reports? Do you need something that will need always-on LTE/5G internet access?
In some cases, such as needing LTE/5G connectivity, after accounting for price you might have weeded out nearly all the available options to maybe a good two dozen models. From there, finding the right laptop should be much simpler.
If your needs aren’t quite as restrictive, you’ll likely need to do a little more work, but don’t fret, it’s not as confusing as it may appear.
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Windows Vs Apple Vs Chromebooks
The operating system that your laptop uses is going to be one of the most important factors you’ll need to decide on, though it isn’t as important as it used to be 10 or 15 years ago.
The differences between Windows laptops and MacBooks are growing smaller with each passing year as more of the most popular app suites like Microsoft Office become more platform-independent thanks to cloud computing. We aren’t totally there yet, but for most people, the difference between the two major operating systems in terms of available software is pretty much a non-issue.;
Chromebooks, however, are a different matter. Chromebooks are an attractive option for many because of their aggressively low pricing, but ChromeOS isn’t nearly as robust as the latest Windows and macOS releases and the availability of locally installable software is going to be far more limited than you’ll find on Windows or macOS laptops.
However, if you spend the overwhelming majority of your computing time online and rarely install and run any apps from the laptop itself, then a Chromebook is definitely worth looking at since it can save you a lot of money. ;;;;
Laptop Buying Guide: What To Look For9 Min Well Spent
- 5:30 AM
With the ease of portability and increased performance, laptops are the go-to computer for use at work or home. If you havent bought a new laptop for a few years, you might be wondering what has changed.
The quick answer is a lot.
But you shouldnt worry about being left in the dark when it comes to what to look for in a laptop. While there are a lot of options for size, performance, operating systems, and price, this affords you the ability to get a laptop that is perfect for your needs.
Dont be scared when you go into a store or look around online at all the options that are available on the market. We will guide you through all the important things to consider when choosing your new laptop.
Nothing can come between two tech-savvy people more than what operating system they prefer.
For some, the operating system is just what makes the computer run, and if it works properly, they dont concern themselves with it. For others, the operating system goes beyond the computer. They become loyal to the point of not even acknowledging the existence of the other. It becomes a way of life. Mac vs. Windows.
Google has become a player in the operating system game in the past few years but have a way to go. The operating system you choose will come down to personal preference.
Windows is the most widely used and flexible operating system on the market.
Screen Size & Weight
Simply put, it works.
2 in 1
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How Much Ram Does A Laptop Need
RAM is an important specification to look for in a laptop. Youll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop though wed actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come. Budget Chromebooks can get away with less RAM, such as 1GB or 2GB.
Which Screen Size Will Work For Me
If you want a perfect mix between portability and visibility, a laptop with a 14 screen is ideal. Smaller screens, such as 11.6 and 10.6, are even easier to carry around but may be too small if you spend a lot of time typing documents or looking at spread sheets.
Laptops with 15.6 screens are the most common and are great if youre spending more time working at a desk than on the go.
The largest screen size available today is 17.3. While laptops with this screen size can be difficult to carry around, they offer the clearest view of your content and are great for multimedia.
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How We Test Laptops
We know that buying a new laptop can be a huge investment, so every laptop in this list has been extensively tested by us. When we test laptops, we use them in our day-to-day lives to see who they perform. We look at their design, including how stylish they are, or if they are thin and light enough to carry around with, and how comfortable they are to work on.
When it comes to performance, we use a mix of real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks to see how powerful these laptops are. This means using Windows 10 and running various apps and seeing how fast they load, noting down any problems.
These days, the webcam and microphone in a laptop is also incredibly important, so we take time to test out these as well. When it comes to gaming laptops, well run more benchmark tests, as well as fire up games to play on them as well
Battery lives are also important, so well keep track on how long we can use the laptop without needing to charge. We also run our own battery life benchmark that plays a looped 1080p movie until the battery dies. We also run the PC Mark 10 battery life benchmark, which replicates real-world usage, such as web browsing and document creation. These tests give us an excellent idea of how long the batteries in these laptops last.
We then take everything weve learned about the laptop and compare it to its price, to see if it offers the best value to customers.
Building A New Pc Or Planning To Upgrade Your Ram We’ve Got You Covered
Lets face it. Smartphones are doubling up on the memory game faster than personal computers ever did. Until two weeks back, I was using a smartphone that had the same amount of RAM as my desktop. Of course that changed when I made the decision of adding another stick, bumping it up to 16GB.
RAM or Random Access Memory is crucial for any computer system, its short-term memory for your PC which stores the most frequently used programs and instructions to speed up the overall system. It is also the fastest medium of storage in your system when compared to say hard disk drives. RAM is also responsible for multitasking as it allows for multiple programs to load at the same time.
On the PC, RAM acts as a buffer between your traditional storage and your CPU. Think of it as a temporary space for information that programs and CPU need in order to perform a task. Once you turn off a PC, all information stored within the RAM module is lost, which is why it takes a bit longer for programs to start up when you have just turned on the PC versus programs that have already offloaded data into the module.
With the increase in bandwidth of internet, data and media consumption, the need of having a fast system is increasing by the day. One of the easiest way give a boost to your computer is by getting more RAM.
Here is a simple guide on how you should choose your system memory, be it an upgrade or if you are building a new PC.
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How To Buy The Best Laptop
With hundreds of models to choose from, you’ll want to find laptop that ticks the boxes and will last the test of time.
One of the biggest decisions will be how much you want to spend – what many don’t realise is that if you’re after a good all-rounder for day-to-day tasks, it doesn’t have to be a lot.
We award Best Buys to our top-performing laptops, and our cheapest Best Buys costs less than £500. Plus if you’re willing to compromise you can find good models for as little as £200.;
Follow the steps below and use our interactive tools and tables to find the perfect laptop.
I Want To Mine Bitcoins
Lets be clear again: almost no one needs a computer this powerful. But if youre willing to push the definition of “laptop” to its very breaking point and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars, you can get a system with performance rivaling a high-end desktop PC.
These bonkers, superpowered laptops are usually made by Clevo or Sager. There are a number of resellers online, and most will carry at least one machine that supports desktop processors, multiple graphics cards, and gobs of memory. Try a hexacore Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition processor, a workstation class Nvidia Quadro K5000M graphics chip, and 32GB of RAM. Throw in three enterprise-grade solid state drives and a fancy paint job, and youre in for just over $13,000.
Just dont forget to justify your purchase to friends and family by explaining how youll make a mint mining Bitcoins, and prepare a clever distraction for when they ask about your blossoming electricity bill.
In for just over $13,000
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The Screen Isnt What It Once Was
Another obvious point to look for is a failing display, which can really mar your overall experience when it comes to using a laptop. The screen may have started flickering, for example which could be bad for your eyesight as well as your sanity or it could suffer from a physical fault particularly if youve dropped the laptop. That could result in a cracked screen, or one with a corrupted section, or a display that fails entirely.
If your laptop screen has a major issue of any kind, itll likely need replacing with a new display at a repair outlet. However, as we already mentioned, it might just be more sensible, or more cost-effective in the longer run, to buy yourself a new laptop .